Giving thanks

I could say that it’s been a while, but that would be an understatement.

Hello, dear reader(s?).

It’s nearly Thanksgiving, which I claim is my favorite holiday. It’s been a very good year. I have much to be thankful for. But I’ve fallen short on at least one goal.

2013 was to be the year I finally finished that ol’ novel. It’s really gotten silly. I started it in 2007. That’s six years ago.  I love it. I love writing and I really enjoy what I’ve written. But, I’ve rewritten it piecemeal, which has turned it into an unending process. It’s a book in three parts. At first I was happy with part 1 and 2, but not 3. I rewrote 3, was happy with it, but needed to change part 2. I rewrote that, but then, while part 1  still worked, decided it wasn’t as good as parts 2 or 3, so I rewrote it. That led to changes in parts 2  and 3 again… which lead back to changes in part 1. So, that’s sort of where things stand. I’m very happy with it, but can’t stop editing. It’s not a great place to be. What I really need is a dedicated time to just get it done. I don’t know when that would happen. It may be for the best that I take some time away from it and come back with fresh eyes.

You likely don’t recall, but switching to writing fiction was really what killed my web ambitions. I needed to focus. I couldn’t have too many side projects. I killed Lopico, I killed motask, I just stopped writing code. But I want to start  again, and the fact that I’m putting the great Amer novel on hold means I can. I don’t know what exactly that means – I know there’s a whole lot that I am clueless about (git, Sass, less, etc… what language are people using these days?) – but I think it means something. I’ve learned a ton in work life – I’m a strategist of some sort –  but I’ve lost the technical bits. Hopefully it’s like riding a bike.

(as a total aside… my last post is now nearly 100% inaccurate. Funny how quickly things change.)

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Setup Part 2

Things have changed. Not much, but I thought worth mentioning. My wife purchased a Logitech ultrathin iPad keyboard for me for Christmas… and it’s surprisingly awesome.  I’m an aspiring writer, so I wanted a keyboard. You may not be, but you should get one. Anyone that writes an email on an iPad should get one. I’m tired of the world pretending that virtual keyboards are good enough. They aren’t. They suck. Get with the (olden) times… get a keyboard.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Setup

I love this and have decided to add my own.

My life is spent in a few directions when it comes to technology: Work, Life as a writer, Life as a developer, and Life as a regular guy, so expect some variety.

Hardware

For work, and often for life too, I am primarily hunkered down in a standard issue Dell Latitude E6410. I also have a 13″ MacBook Pro, an iPad (3), an iPhone 4 and a Samsung Galaxy II (that I will soon be parting ways with) and a Kindle (the cheap one).

The Dell is a necessity for work, I use it mostly docked with a second monitor. The MacBook is my weapon of choice when writing, but I’m honestly not that particular and will use whichever is more easily accessible. If I’m feeling particularly appley, but need my dell, I’ll remote into my dell from my mac… this is really because of the way the key strikes sound.

The iPad I feel guilty about buying because I don’t use it that much… there are some times when it’s great, but mostly I want real keys. The rest I feel is pretty self explanatory.

I also frequently use Moleskine notebooks and am a huge fan of plain old bic round stic pens (and am a little upset you can no longer buy the old style ones that are plain white with a black cap).  And for photos, an Olympus PEN E-PL1 (I’m not much of a photographer, but it’s a great camera, especially for the price (when compared to DSLRs)).

I work from home, so during the day I listen to a lot of music and the radio, and love my Sound|Freaq Sound Platform. On occasion, I’ll also use headphones and for that I use my standard issue ear buds… headphones have been one thing I’ve put off investing in… and life seems okay.

I sit at a fairly standard desk, but occasionally, like now, I sit at a TV tray. Weird, I know, but sometimes the absence of a place to put things makes me happy. I especially like it when editing, or reading something that’s been printed.

Software

For life, I use Chrome. That’s really about it. I even write in the cloud. I’ve tried omm writer and writeroom, but because of my penchant for just using whatever is around, keeping it all in the cloud is my preference (though I do use Word to edit).

When I pretend I can still write decent code, I use Aptana or notepad++ and MAMP or WAMP.

I try to limit the number of apps I use, since I still believe in developing once for everyone, but do enjoy the clear app (sorry, motask) and the pandora app. I listen to pandora most of the day. On the iPad, I do love paper and use it mostly in a work capacity to sketch things out before I wireframe them.

For work, I use standard issue Microsoft stuff, and sometimes spent weeks on end in Visio (or so it seems). I use Clover to navigate the world of windows and Asana to manage tasks.

I’ve recently started using F.lux and so far really like it.

My ideal setup

I want to own fewer devices, which is why I think Microsoft is on the right track with Surface, but from what I’ve read it’s not so hot. In an ideal world you would have one device that worked as a tablet, notebook and could be docked to create a full desktop experience.

For writing, I really want something basic, probably more basic than what’s currently available. I’d love a really nice keyboard and a screen that’s easy on the eyes, but other than that I just want a good, full screen word processor. In fact, I think I’d like it to have nothing else… this tends to make me think a Chromebook might not be a bad idea. I’d be interested in an e-ink display, but know that wouldn’t work… at least not currently.

Kind of makes you wonder why I buy apple products.

Posted in Tools | Leave a comment

Rundown

Some random updates:

  • I bought a new domain name for the first time in probably a couple of years. It’s a good one. TBD if I actually go through with the idea associated to the domain.
  • I now own a pair of Warby Parker glasses, which I did not realize were uber trendy when I purchased them… now I seem to be seeing ads for them, and even articles about them, everywhere.
  • I’m in love with paper. I may even buy a stylus.
  • I was in Chicago last week, it’s still a pretty awesome place. I went to Yolk one morning while I was there… it made me realize how I’ve managed to lose nearly 10lbs since moving to Ohio, despite the fact that Ohio is the land of fatties and I haven’t increase my exercise level that much.
  • I joined a weekly open basketball group. Last night was the first night. I nearly collapsed on the court.

Until next time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tweeting in character

I came across someone on some site (the influx of info in our world has made it infinitely more difficult to remember the source of anything… also makes the author and the source less important… perhaps a different post) that was discussing Twitter for authors… The post was fine.  More interesting was a comment that mentioned tweeting as a character…

As a writer (sure, why not?) you have to think about what a character would do and say, different aspects of their personality and their character. Quirks and anomalies that set them apart… but Tweeting as that character lets you take on the character in a completely different context… or a lack of context. There’s no plot to Twitter, there’s just a box that says… what does it say now?… “Compose new Tweet” (didn’t it used to be ‘what’s happening’?).

So, I spent yesterday tweeting in character… I setup an account for a character in my ever-in-progress novel-length work of fiction, tried to find people he might follow, and tweeted random things that he might think during the day. It was interesting… and something I would recommend to fellow writers. I gained five followers while I was at it (all seemingly bots).

It’s completely meaningless stuff, but if you really want to know the account is @truthaboutjay.

Posted in Writing | Leave a comment

Mars.

I’m sorry. I don’t get it. I guess I’m not nerd enough. I’m just not that excited about the Mars exploration. Please, enlighten me, with all that’s happening in the world, why should I be concerned and hopelessly excited about this Mars Curiosity mission? The name – Curiosity – even implies that we know it’s probably a waste of time.

“Hey, you want to go to Mars?”

“Why?”

“I don’t know… just curious.”

“Oh. Okay then.”

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Apps are never finished, sites shouldn’t be either

There’s this crazy thing that happens when you build a website for a company: you launch it and then it sits. Then, a few years later, the company comes back and says: let’s start over, everything is old and bad. I’m generalizing, not everyone does this, and this is in no way indicative of experiences from my personal career.

Anyway… when you have an app, you never stop. The second something goes live, you work on the next evolution. Not a full rebuild, the next step. There may be full rebuilds at some point… but in general, you build piece by piece. When was the last time twitter was really updated? All the time, but it doesn’t feel new, because it’s a constant evolution rather than a total overhaul. There’s a lot to be said for that approach, whether your website is your business or just supports your business.

Posted in Business | Leave a comment